NIU baseball team on the road again

By Todd McMahon

Once again, the NIU baseball team will be playing in familiar territory today.

For the 19th and 20th times in this young season, the Huskies will be away from McKinzie Field. NIU travels to Milwaukee for a 2 p.m. doubleheader with the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (4-12).

NIU (6-14) is coming off a split in its first two home games on Tuesday against Northern Iowa. Thanks in part to a steady wind blowing out to left field, the Huskies were able to produce 28 total runs in the two games.

In its opening 17-7, five-inning win over the Panthers, the Huskies took advantage of eight walks and pounded out six extra-base hits.

For a team that was hitting just .236 going in, NIU used that wind and provided enough support for starting pitcher Josh Brown.

Brown, in just his second start of the season, allowed only three runs through four innings before Northern Iowa tagged him for four runs in the final inning.

“He just lost his competitiveness when we got the big lead,” NIU coach Joe “Spanky” McFarland said about Brown.

McFarland also pointed out that his young squad may have been too relaxed when it had a 17-3 lead going into that fifth inning.

“We got a little lackadaisical out there,” McFarland said. “Our heads started pulling out after (Northern Iowa’s) home run in the fifth and then the home run by them in the second game.”

Although the Huskies fell 20-11 in the nightcap, the offensive outburst continued as they had 12 more hits, including three by left fielder Mark Mershon.